Staff representatives from the nine public universities are expected to meet President Yoweri Museveni to discuss their delayed salary enhancement.
Khalid Mahmoud, the deputy spokesperson Gulu University, says they received an invitation to meet the president at State House, Entebbe on Tuesday to discuss salary matters. Both teaching and non-teaching staff across public universities laid down their tools early this month so as to compel the government to fulfill the president’s directive to enhance their salaries.
Mahmoud, who, also doubles as the Gulu University Academic Staff Association (GUASA) chairperson, says each public university is expected to send four representatives for the meeting with the president. He says each university will be represented by two leaders from the Forum for Academic Staff of Public Universities (FASPU) and Public Universities Non-Teaching Staff Executive Forum (PUNTSEF).
He says after the Museveni meeting, they will meet on Wednesday to discuss the outcome of the State House meeting. Gulu University staff under their umbrella body Gulu University Staff Association (GUASA) and National Union of Educational Institution (NUEI) on August 1 went on an industrial strike.
Mahmoud says they will not call off the strike even when the first semester commences on August 12.
"Students can report to the university but we cannot take part in the orientation because we are not working. Only a few offices are receiving admissions, the health center is functioning and only heads of departments are active.’’ Mahmoud said during an interview.
In 2015, Museveni directed the enhancement of salaries of staff in public universities with a professor earning at least Shs 15 million each month from the current Shs 2 million.
The Finance, Planning and Economic Development ministry decided to phase the enhanced of the salaries over a period of five years ending in the financial year 2019/2020. However, the staff say the salary enhancement isn’t reflected in the salary structure for the 2019/2020 financial year issued by the ministry of Public Service.
Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire the Public Service permanent secretary issued a circular to vice-chancellors of public universities announcing that Shs 15 billion had been earmarked to pay the striking staff.
Musingwiire said this is part of the Shs 150 billion meant for enhancing the salaries for all public officers. At least Shs 138 billion is needed for the enhancement of the salary of staff in all public universities. Shs 58.5 billion is meant for arrears while Shs 78.5 billion is for enhancement for the 2018/2019 financial year.